Throughout the recent months of uncertainty and change, children and adults alike are experiencing a wide range of emotions. Some of these emotions may be causing stress, anxiety, or even depression. Trying the following mindfulness activities will focus your attention, help you become aware of your thoughts and feelings, and create a healthy space for big emotions.
These activities are designed for adults, and children can join in, too!
Activity 1: Focus Your Attention
Find a comfortable place to sit, or stretch out on the floor.
Click on one of the links below or choose a song from this Spotify playlist.
Listen to the music for at least 30 seconds with your eyes closed.
As you listen, drop your shoulders and let your ears fill with the sound of the music. Notice the instruments and noises you hear. How does this music make you feel? Calm? Anxious? Happy? Sad? ___?)
Repeat with one or two other links. Choose your favorite.
Activity 2: Emotional Check and Change
While listening to your favorite music selection from the links above, pay attention to your breathing. To regulate your breathing breathe in for four slow counts, and breathe out for six to eight counts. You determine your own rate of breathing.
After several breathing cycles, notice the feelings that rise to the surface of your awareness. Select three words from the table below that best describe how you are feeling. You may also choose to think of your own words that more accurately describe how you feel. Write them down if you wish.
Children may find using this chart a helpful way to identify how they are feeling. They need to choose only one or two words or circle one or two icons to describe the way they feel.
Now, think about how you want to feel. Change any of the words you originally selected to words that describe the way you would like to feel. Keep the emotionally descriptive words you would like to reinforce. Write them down if you wish.
Next, slowly stand and find a place with room to move as the music continues to play. Create a movement for each word that describes the way you would like to feel. Practice doing the movements, one after another. Let your body flow into each movement or action along with the music.
Now, as you move, vocalize your words as statements of affirmation as you flow with the music. “I am …..” “I am …..” “I am …..”
Repeat the movements and vocal affirmations for several cycles. Say it loud! Say it like you believe it! Say your affirmations softly and gently. Slowly melt down into your original position in a chair or on the floor.
Return your awareness to focused breathing. Check in with how you are feeling. What do you need to do to feel the way you want to? What is really within your power to control? What can you let go of? Breathe. Continue your day with intention.
Activity 3: Mood Music
Use music as a mindful tool. Find music that reinforces the way you want to feel. Create various playlists of songs and music that will energize you, calm you down, help you focus, inspire relaxation, or bring good memories to mind. Listen to your playlists to change and fortify your emotions.
This blog post was written by Jennifer Purdy, Program Coordinator in the BYU ARTS Partnership. A jazz enthusiast, Jen plays with a local swing band and enjoys composing and arranging music for elementary school students. She’s currently learning the mandolin, but also enjoys playing the violin, ukulele, guitar, recorder, and many other elementary classroom instruments.
To support the well-being of teachers, Cally Flox will be hosting a class: Resilience for Teachers: Learning to Thrive Instead of Survive. The class is specifically designed for participants and past participants in the BYU ARTS Partnership programs, but is open to everyone. Get details and sign up at this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/resilience-for-teachers-learning-to-thrive-instead-of-survive-tickets-115098408438.